Saturday, June 24, 2017


THE REVELATIONS OF CAREY RAVINE by Debra Daley (Quercus, 2016)

Reviewed by Alyson Baker

London in the 1770s is bursting with opportunity. It's a city fuelled by new ideas and new money, where everything is for sale - including entrée into the ruling class.

Making their way in this buccaneering society are Carey Ravine, a spirited young woman of enigmatic background, and her husband, the charming, endlessly enterprising Oliver Nash. Carey and Nash share a historic connection to India and a desperate ambition to better themselves. 

But as Nash's plans draw them into a restless association of gamblers and secret societies, Carey begins to question what's really hidden behind the seedy glamour of their lives. Her unease grows with the appearance of a mysterious man whose appearance unearths a troubling secret from the past. Carey finds herself forced to investigate the truth behind the stranger's claims­­ - and to confront her own illusions about herself.

A woman’s rise from dupedom in the 1770s. Carey Ravine is a smart and capable woman who has escaped her dismal teenage years by entering the social swirl, cons, and ambitions of her husband, Oliver Nash. Carey is not giving herself too much time to reflect on her life, or the puzzle of her father who has been missing in India for ten years.

But a series of discoveries tantalises her, and draws her into trying to solve a mystery concerning strange poisonings, blue lights, and her place of fascination: India. As she becomes aware of the potential impact of what is lying at the heart of the mystery, and the possible connection to her father – she finds she is not really satisfied with the frippery and dubious politics around which her life is revolving. And as she becomes aware of cover-ups and conspiracies she, and the reader, start to suspect those around her might not quite be who she took them for.

The setting and language (I really must use bloviate more often) are rich, and Carey’s character admirable. The book has historical detail, an intriguing plot, the evil East India Company, romance, and a strong female lead – a delight.

Alyson Baker is a crime-loving librarian in Nelson. This review first appeared on her blog, which you can check out here

No comments:

Post a Comment